Kieft Barchetta 1953 RHD ex-1955-Le Mans I) History of LDA 5 in the UK: Cyril Kieft was a Welsh industrialist who enrolled in building racing cars out of passion. During his career from 1950 till 1956 in an over-enthusiastic elan, he produced the whole spectrum from Formula III to Formula I but also 2 seater sports-racing cars. In retrospect only his FIII cars were successful, partly thanks to the driving skills of a.o. Don Parker and Stirling Moss. He was an innovator by using fibreglass bodies, but maybe his greatest accomplishment was to convince Coventry-Climax to develop an automotive version of their stationnary engine, so that he could fit this state of the art engine into his race cars. In 1953-54 Cyril Kieft embarks into the construction of a small series of seven two-seater race cars with fibre glass body and a 1100 cc Coventry-Climax engine. LDA 5 is part of this small series, sold to Berwyn Baxter, and fitted with a air-cooled Turner flat-four (in fact 4 Norton 350 cc motorcylcle engines assembled together!...). LDA 5 participates in this configuration to the 1955 Bol dOr at Monthlhéry and to the 1955 24 h endurance race of Le Mans. Sadly, due to overheating problems (even with the huge scoop on the bonnet) both races had to be abandonned after 2 hours. Fed-up, Baxter swapped this troublesome Turner engine for a more reliable 1500 cc MG A engine, which is still in the car now. In this new configuration LDA 5 races at Goodwood and participates at the Tourist Trophy in Dunrod. The results are encouraging and Berwyn Baxter remains enthusiast. End of the 1955 season he buys the business from Cyril Kieft. After a small accident to the fibreglass body of LDA 5, Baxter decides in 1956 to replace this body by an aluminium one fabricated by "Panelcraft" after a design from Phill Crakwell (of BRM fame), with the intention to build some further cars based on this model. A commercial leaflet was produced for this intent (present in the cars file). In this new configuration and as a publicity stunt, hoping to conquer the American market, LDA 5 participates to many hill climbs and club races. From around 1963 LDA 5 arrives into the hands of T. Coker, who keeps the Kieft for about 20 years. Succesively LDA 5 moves in 1984 into the collection of Duncan Rabagliati containing only rare British makes sportscars. Duncan Rabagliati sells, by lack of space, part of his important collection and this is when in 1998 this Kieft arrives in Belgium. II) LDA 5 in Belgium: Our classic car workshop was almost immediately involved with the reconditionning of this Kieft for the at that time Belgian owner. Because the barchetta's condition was very average, it was decided to strip her to the bare tubular chassis and build her up again (photo documented). Also the mechanics were completely taken care of. In 2002 The Kieft participates at the centenary celebrations of the Mont Ventoux. In 2003 Marreyt Classics finds a new Belgian owner for this Kieft and some futher preparation is executed. A stage 1 tuning for the original MGA engine, fabrication of new wheels and drums. A set of racing tyres, etc... This Kieft Barchetta participates regularly to historic races in Belgium and abroad and demonstrates convincingly to be totally reliable & great fun. Due to the sudden death of one of the owners LDA 5 comes back into our hands. Wouldn't this historic Kieft Barchetta be a nice addition to anyone's classic sports-racing car collection?
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